One might find it surprising that the NCAA, with its gigantic, complicated web of rules and regulations that even the colleges under its umbrella have trouble understanding, will not require anything of each university when it comes to coronavirus testing. But that is the reality, as Will Hobson over at the Washington Post wrote on Friday. The NCAA only has "recommended" guidelines for testing college athletes for COVID-19, but leaves the particulars up to each school's discretion.
That doesn't seem great, does it? In Hobson's story, he contrasted the testing strategies of Notre Dame (testing athletes every week) versus that of Arkansas (testing only if symptoms are shown or a player has been near someone who tested positive). That is of great worry for players and their parents. As it has been with this pandemic, each individual can do everything they can to avoid testing positive-- but ultimately, nobody can control everything. The negligence of one person can ruin all carefully-laid plans. That's true in every regard, not just when it comes to the college football season.
The NCAA has the power to control almost everything. They can make schools test everyone on a weekly basis. That is a complicated endeavor, to be sure. The availability of tests varies from state to state, and the power of each program in their ability to get the tests they need to put on college athletics safety varies even more. Installing required guidelines that all schools must abide by would be hard. But it's worth trying, right?
37 Clemson players have tested positive over the last three weeks. Countless other programs across the country have reported positive tests for their athletes. The illusion that college athletics might escape positive tests was shattered long ago. Leaving something of this magnitude up to each school's discretion is the easy way out, and a recipe for disaster.